My Best of Pre1949

by David-Grant | created - 17 Jul 2011 | updated - 23 Dec 2018 | Public

My favourite films of the period

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1. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 134,003 | Gross: $0.03M

2. The Big Sleep (1946)

Not Rated | 114 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Martha Vickers

Votes: 75,671 | Gross: $6.54M

3. The Great Dictator (1940)

Passed | 125 min | Comedy, Drama, War

Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Jack Oakie, Reginald Gardiner

Votes: 189,753

4. Angel on My Shoulder (1946)

Approved | 100 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

The Devil arranges for a deceased gangster to return to Earth as a well-respected judge to make up for his previous life.

Director: Archie Mayo | Stars: Paul Muni, Anne Baxter, Claude Rains, Onslow Stevens

Votes: 2,269

5. The Private Life of Henry VIII. (1933)

Not Rated | 97 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

King Henry VIII marries five more times after his divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

Director: Alexander Korda | Stars: Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Franklin Dyall, Miles Mander

Votes: 3,443

6. Henry V (1944)

Not Rated | 137 min | Biography, Drama, History

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Laurence Olivier | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Robert Newton, Leslie Banks, Felix Aylmer

Votes: 5,437

7. The Set-Up (1949)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Sport

Because aging boxer Bill Thompson always lost his past fights, his corrupt manager, without telling Thompson, takes bribes from a betting gangster, to ensure Thompson's pre-arranged dive-loss in the next match.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Robert Ryan, Audrey Totter, George Tobias, Alan Baxter

Votes: 7,195

8. Le Corbeau (1943)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

French village doctor becomes target of poison-pen letters sent to village leaders, accusing him of affairs and practicing abortion.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Pierre Fresnay, Ginette Leclerc, Micheline Francey, Héléna Manson

Votes: 8,235 | Gross: $0.03M

9. L'Atalante (1934)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo | Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis, Louis Lefebvre

Votes: 13,545

10. Brute Force (1947)

Passed | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, Yvonne De Carlo

Votes: 8,268

11. All the King's Men (1949)

Approved | 110 min | Drama, Film-Noir

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru, John Derek

Votes: 12,416

12. The Palm Beach Story (1942)

Passed | 88 min | Comedy, Romance

An inventor needs cash to develop his big idea. His wife, who loves him, decides to raise it for him by divorcing him and marrying a millionaire.

Director: Preston Sturges | Stars: Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee

Votes: 10,218 | Gross: $0.44M

13. Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

A simple, small town man inherits a massive fortune, making him the target for scammers and publicity-seekers. Overwhelmed by the turn his life has taken, and awoken to another use for his new-found fortune, he makes a momentous decision.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander

Votes: 18,699

14. Duel in the Sun (1946)

Passed | 129 min | Drama, Romance, Western

Beautiful half-breed Pearl Chavez becomes the ward of her dead father's first love and finds herself torn between her sons, one good and the other bad.

Directors: King Vidor, Otto Brower, William Dieterle, Sidney Franklin, William Cameron Menzies, David O. Selznick, Josef von Sternberg | Stars: Jennifer Jones, Joseph Cotten, Gregory Peck, Lionel Barrymore

Votes: 7,651 | Gross: $20.41M

15. Ninotchka (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Romance

A stern Russian woman sent to Paris on official business finds herself attracted to a man who represents everything she is supposed to detest.

Director: Ernst Lubitsch | Stars: Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Ina Claire, Bela Lugosi

Votes: 17,860 | Gross: $1.19M

16. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Not Rated | 96 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

While travelling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, May Whitty

Votes: 44,347

17. Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jenny Laird

Votes: 20,108

18. The Thin Man (1934)

TV-PG | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

Former detective Nick Charles and his wealthy wife Nora investigate a murder case, mostly for the fun of it.

Director: W.S. Van Dyke | Stars: William Powell, Myrna Loy, Maureen O'Sullivan, Nat Pendleton

Votes: 25,020

19. White Heat (1949)

Not Rated | 114 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A psychopathic criminal with a mother complex makes a daring break from prison and leads his old gang in a chemical plant payroll heist.

Director: Raoul Walsh | Stars: James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly

Votes: 27,270

20. Brighton Rock (1948)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama

In Brighton in 1935, small-time gang leader Pinkie Brown murders a journalist and later desperately tries to cover his tracks but runs into trouble with the police, a few witnesses and a rival gang.

Director: John Boulting | Stars: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell, Harcourt Williams

Votes: 4,934 | Gross: $0.22M

21. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Not Rated | 132 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.

Director: Frank Lloyd | Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Herbert Mundin

Votes: 19,634

22. Rome, Open City (1945)

Not Rated | 103 min | Drama, Thriller, War

During the Nazi occupation of Rome in 1944, the Resistance leader, Giorgio Manfredi, is chased by the Nazis as he seeks refuge and a way to escape.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero, Vito Annichiarico

Votes: 21,459

23. The Rules of the Game (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély

Votes: 25,117

24. Three Strangers (1946)

Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Three strangers, each with a serious problem in their lives, share a sweepstakes ticket which they wished upon together before a Chinese idol.

Director: Jean Negulesco | Stars: Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Joan Lorring

Votes: 1,479

25. I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney, Walter Hudd

Votes: 7,372

26. The Ox-Bow Incident (1942)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Western

When a posse captures three men suspected of killing a local farmer, they become strongly divided over whether or not to lynch the men.

Director: William A. Wellman | Stars: Henry Fonda, Dana Andrews, Mary Beth Hughes, Anthony Quinn

Votes: 19,739 | Gross: $1.64M

27. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Not Rated | 118 min | Comedy, Crime, Thriller

A drama critic learns on his wedding day that his beloved maiden aunts are homicidal maniacs, and that insanity runs in his family.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: Cary Grant, Priscilla Lane, Raymond Massey, Jack Carson

Votes: 62,985

28. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Not Rated | 129 min | Comedy, Drama

73 Metascore

A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold

Votes: 101,407 | Gross: $9.60M

29. Earth (1930)

Unrated | 75 min | Drama

In the peaceful countryside, Vassily opposes the rich kulaks over the coming of collective farming.

Director: Aleksandr Dovzhenko | Stars: Stepan Shkurat, Semyon Svashenko, Yuliya Solntseva, Yelena Maksimova

Votes: 4,538

30. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 54,937 | Gross: $3.27M

31. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

PG | 108 min | Thriller

94 Metascore

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey, Henry Travers

Votes: 55,854

32. The Verdict (1946)

Approved | 86 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After an innocent man is executed in a case he was responsible for, a Scotland Yard superintendent finds himself investigating the murder of his key witness.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Joan Lorring, George Coulouris

Votes: 1,710

33. High Wall (1947)

Approved | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After a brain-damaged man confesses to murder and is committed, Dr. Ann Lorrison tries to prove his innocence.

Director: Curtis Bernhardt | Stars: Robert Taylor, Audrey Totter, Herbert Marshall, Dorothy Patrick

Votes: 1,367

34. Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | 102 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

91 Metascore

While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett

Votes: 52,411

35. The Wind (1928)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Romance, Western

A frail young woman from the east moves in with her cousin in the west, where she causes tension within the family and is slowly driven mad.

Director: Victor Sjöström | Stars: Lillian Gish, Lars Hanson, Montagu Love, Dorothy Cumming

Votes: 5,708

36. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

Votes: 43,129 | Gross: $0.02M

37. Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Not Rated | 106 min | Comedy, Crime

A distant poor relative of the Duke of D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.

Director: Robert Hamer | Stars: Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Valerie Hobson, Joan Greenwood

Votes: 32,897

38. Laura (1944)

Passed | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

A Police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price

Votes: 40,098 | Gross: $4.36M

39. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Not Rated | 66 min | Drama, History, Thriller

In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel's officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein | Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov, Ivan Bobrov

Votes: 49,932 | Gross: $0.05M

40. Out of the Past (1947)

Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A private eye escapes his past to run a gas station in a small town, but his past catches up with him. Now he must return to the big city world of danger, corruption, double crosses and duplicitous dames.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas, Rhonda Fleming

Votes: 30,386

41. Shockproof (1949)

Approved | 79 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A Parole Officer falls in-love with his client, a ravishing blonde who served time for murder, and he's determined to help her go straight despite her interfering criminal boyfriend.

Director: Douglas Sirk | Stars: Cornel Wilde, Patricia Knight, John Baragrey, Esther Minciotti

Votes: 1,177

42. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, Richard Thorpe, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 360,363 | Gross: $2.08M

43. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

98 Metascore

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 150,667 | Gross: $1.24M

44. The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated | 93 min | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller

97 Metascore

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard

Votes: 150,541 | Gross: $0.45M

45. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)

Passed | 126 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

98 Metascore

Two Americans searching for work in Mexico convince an old prospector to help them mine for gold in the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 107,595 | Gross: $5.01M

46. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery